Lions Tigers and Bears

about Lions Tigers and Bears

Lions Tigers and Bears is a brand-new design studio, started in 2020, in part as a personal lock-down project by me, Gilles Vandenoostende, a creative technologist, webdesigner (and part-time indie game developer), based in Ghent, Belgium.

The aim of this company is to do great and interesting design work for anyone in need of it, in whatever form that might be: from a simple website, interactive installation, mobile app or even a video game. I can also do graphic design, illustration, motion graphics, or create new brands, styleguides and logos.

I can work solo, as well as along side other designers, developers, creatives or managers as the case may be. My role might be as little as a creative consultation, or as involved as a full design sprint from concept to final production. My broad set of skills and talents give me a unique perspective that can be of tremendous value to any business venture or digital project.

As well as being a banner for me to house my highly professional and often serious freelance design work, Lions Tigers and Bears is at its core also an artistic endeavour. So whenever I'm not working for clients, I shall be using the LTB brand to publish personal projects, chief of which will be my very own indie game: Von Neumann's Catastrophe, as well as other digital experiments in the near future.

These and more can be found at LTB Games.


Yours truly

About me

Throughout my career I've always tried to be a renaissance geek. Like the great masters of old, I stubbornly refuse to specialise, preferring to remain plugged into as many different fields as I can humanly muster.

The story of the Lions Tigers and Bears can't be told without also telling my own story. So bear with me, and indulge me while I regale to you my life's story as succintly as I can.

So as we've established, my name is Gilles Vandenoostende. Born in Ghent, Belgium in the mid-80's. Generationally speaking, this places me somewhere in between Gen-X and Millennials, which translates to having a pretty traditional childhood where nobody had cellphones, but at the same time growing up around information technology that was evolving and maturing at the same rate we were. My dad bought his first PC in the late 80's and some of my earliest childhood memories involve staring at the glowing CRT monitor playing DOS videogames, like Commander Keen, Duke Nukem and Lemmings.

So when it was time for me to choose my higher education, I choose something that combined my two great interests: design and technology, which at the time in 2003 meant Multi-Media and Communications Technology. Here I learnt the basics of programming and webdesign, as well as some 3D modelling and graphic design tools. In my last year I had the chance to do my internship abroad and I lucked out with a really good placement at a university incubator in Liverpool, where I learnt about user-research and got a chance to design a few small games for the BBC.

After graduating in 2006 I was intending to take another two years to get my masters' degree, but after receiving a job-offer from BBDO to join their webdesign team I decided to start my career proper. This started the first chapter of my professional life working in the Belgian advertising industry. After a 5 year stint at BBDO where I was doing mostly Flash-based webstuff, I joined TBWA Group and their Two Men and a Horsehead design team, where I gained more experience in Graphic Design and UX.

Throughout my work I had to combine both design and programming to achieve the best results, and I continued to hone both these skillsets, always learning new techniques while refusing to specialise too much in either direction. I learned that a talent for efficient communication is indispensible for making informed and intelligent design decisions.

Later in 2013 I would join Duval Guillaume and Saatchi & Saatchi as Creative Technologist/(UX) Designer. However, by 2016 I had decided to find work a little closer to home, and lucked into a job-interview at Little Miss Robot, a digital product design firm in Ghent, and was hired to join their design team. Here I was more focused on user-oriented design, creating wireframes and prototypes for a variety of clients, organising workshops and focusgroups to collect design briefings, etc.

During my time at LMR I met Dave & Alexander, who had been working on an idea for a virtual reality game called Journey For Elysium (available now), but they needed someone who had the technical skills to help make it. Since I had been dabbling with VR myself (and knew how to use Unity 3D) I eagerly joined their team and along with Xavier (an intern from DAE).

We spent 3 months to make the first prototype (see the case for the full story, with which we were able to get production funding from the VAF (Flanders Film Fund). My childhood dreams of being a game designer came true and production started in 2018. Dave founded the Mantis studio and we hired our first team. The last two years I have been working full time at Mantis Games, doing mostly level design and scripting, as well as working on concepts for future games. Lots of blood, sweat and tears later, Journey finally shipped late 2019.

Without getting into too much detail, Mantis and I sadly had to part ways, and so that brings us here today in late 2020. Reflecting on my career and life up to this point, I decided that I owed it to myself to try and become master of my own destiny and go into business for myself, foregoing the comfort of a steady paycheck for the increased freedom and creative ownership that comes with running your own design company. Which brings us here.

So, still here after all that? Good. Maybe you'd like to work with me?

Resumé

Philosophy

I want to help bridge the gap between Art and Technology, Science and Culture, Fun and Philosophy. I am a creative millipede who refuses to be pigeonholed into predictable categories. I like to wear many types of hats, literally and figuratively.

Experience

Lions Tigers and Bears, Ghent Belgium. 2020–Present
I've decided to go freelance and to start my own design firm/indie game-studio. In fact you're looking at its website right now!
Mantis Games and Cronos Interactive, Ghent Belgium. 2018–2020
Game designer, working on Journey For Elysium as well as concepts for future titles. Submitted multiple successful VAF projects.
Little Miss Robot and Leap Forward, Ghent Belgium. 2016–2018
Worked as UX designer and creative technologist, making prototypes for VR and AR, as well as working for clients such as VDAB, VLAIO, etc.
Duval Guillaume and Saatchi & Saatchi, Antwerp Belgium. 2013–2016
Hired as Creative Technologist in 2013. My job was to brainstorm with creative teams, but I also did Graphic Design and UX for Saatchi & Saatchi, who moved into our offices in 2014. Clients: Coca Cola, Carlsberg, Belfius, Samsonite, City of Antwerp, …
TBWA, Brussels Belgium. March 2012 – December 2013
Designer and Information Architect. Made prototypes, but I also did front-end development, 3D animation, and more. Left after I got a job-offer with Duval Guillaume. Clients: KBC, Telenet, MINI, PepsiCo, Spa, …
Proximity BBDO, Brussels Belgium. 2007–2012
Interactive Design, Front-end Development & Digital Creative. Left when I received an offer to join TBWA. Clients: KBC, Telenet, Chrysler/Dodge, PepsiCo, ING, Belgacom, …
Atmosphere BBDO, Brussels Belgium. 2006–2007
Junior Web-designer. Recruited out of college right after starting my Masters. Atmosphere was later merged with Direct BBDO & Proximity Brussels to form Proximity BBDO
Intern at The-Automatic, Liverpool UK. 2006
Enjoyed a 3 month placement abroad where I lived & worked as a 3D modeller and Flash developer. I got to work on several projects, including for the BBC.

Education

Bachelor in Multi-Media & Communciationstechnology PIH Kortrijk 2003-2006. Graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Awards & Honours

Here follows a list of some of the most important awards and honours I’ve received over the years.

Some of the awards and honours I've received over the years
AwardProjectClient
Cannes Lions 2013 – Gold Direct Lion, Silver Media Lion & Bronze Promo & Activation LionThe Gap In The MarketKBC
IAB MIXX AWARDS 2013 – Best Multiscreen Experience – SilverThe Pepsi Like MachinePepsico
IAB MIXX AWARDS 2013 – Online B2C Campaign – GoldThe Gap In The MarketKBC
IAB MIXX AWARDS 2013 – Best Optimised Site – SilverThe Gap In The MarketKBC
IAB MIXX AWARDS 2013 – Online B2C Campaign – SilverThe Talk HalfwayKBC
IAB MIXX AWARDS 2013 – Online B2C Campaign – Bronze"Mums know best" safety shopKBC
Adobe MAX Award 2009 - Advertising and BrandingPepsi Max ItPepsico
Best of Activation 2010 - Silver Media AwardHold Your LionPUB
Pub Cover Award 2009 - Special mentionHold Your LionPUB
Eurobest 2008 - Media finalist, Mixed MediaPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Eurobest 2008 - Interactive finalist, Interactive CampaignsPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Proximity Worldwide 2008 - SilverPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Best of Activation awards 2008 - Gold Advertisers Jury, Non-Alcoholic BeveragesPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Best of Activation awards 2008 - Gold Press JuryPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Best of Activation awards 2008 - Bronze Creative JuryPepsi 4MaxPepsico
Best of Activation Awards 2008 - Silver Advertisers Jury, ServicesKBC Word RocksterKBC
Multi-Mania 2006 - Finalist Best 3D Animation
Multi-Mania 2005 - Finalist Best Flash Productsite
Multi-Mania 2005 - Finalist Best Interactive DVD Project

References

Please contact me for a list of my references.

SKILLS OVERVIEW

Creative Technologist

A very broad job-description. From creative coding (processing, javascript), prototyping, 3D printing, to helping Art Directors and Copywriters come up with technological solutions to creative problems (and vice-versa).

Designer and illustrator

Typography, design, grids and illustration are my passion. Digital- and traditional painting are where I get my creative juices flowing.

User Experience Designer

In every digital project I've worked on (wether it's apps or websites), I've always strived to keep the needs of the user front and center at all times. I know all about usability testing, accessibility, wireframes and prototypes.

3D Technical Artist

Modelling, texturing, baking and rigging 3D assets to prepare them for use with modern 3D engines or web-frameworks.

Front-end developer

Using HTML5, CSS3 and modern javascript frameworks such as React.js, Three.js or Babylon.js I can build dynamic front-ends that can suit many purposes.

Digital Creative

As a digital native, I've been online since before browsers were even invented. Combined with my passion for creative expression I'm the guy you need to turn any idea into something that works online (or who will tell you when it won't).

Technology-specific experience

I know and have worked with the following applications, frameworks and technologies:

  • Unity 3D
  • C#
  • HTML5
  • React.js
  • Processing
  • Blender
  • Invision/Sketch
  • Photoshop, Illustrator
  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • Adobe After Effects
(listed in no particular order of preference - I'm technology agnostic and choose my tools based on the project, not on what I like working with most)